Eurostar, the passenger rail service that connects Europe and the UK through the Channel Tunnel, and which was in danger of bankruptcy, has been bailed out by a €290 million agreement among its shareholders.
During the pandemic, the rail line that had been expanding to new destinations including Amsterdam, the Alps and the south of France, has been forced to cut back to a skeleton service because of travel restrictions, and had eaten through nearly all of its reserves.
The company asked for aid months ago, but negotiations were stalled by British reluctance to put public funds into a service that is owned 55% by the French state railway system and 5% by Belgium's railways. The UK government originally owned the other 40%, but sold it in 2015 to a Canadian investment fund and a UK infrastructure company.
The compromise deal just announced includes an additional €58 million in equity investment by the four partners, who will also guarantee loans of €175 million. An additional €58 million in existing loans is being restructured to move deadlines into a hopefully more profitable future.